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sleepy at first, and the places made little impression; but after some time the recollection of those old times returned. How totally unlike the present! The change in this place, though most complete, was the least striking; the change in myself-in all around me, in India, and in the world-is almost total; yet those days of youth were not, as might be fancied, days of thoughtless pleasure, but often of deep despondency, mixed with ardent aspirations after better things. Had the life I have since led been offered to me then, I am sure I should have rejected it with disdain. But all is now changed, and I perhaps am more fortunate in the prospect of going to my grave in obscurity than I should have been if any of my wild and visionary wishes had been realised.
Oct. 27.-Rode to-day alone to the Kirkee bridge, visiting as I passed the little recess in the river bank where Hamilton and I used to bathe in time of old. It was quite unchanged, and everything as it then stood was fresh in my mind. I then went to Kirkee bridge, up to the village (but could not find the Belle Alliance), and rode along the places which I remembered in those times. Then looked over the quiet plains to the west, and home by and through the Sungum, which I probably saw for the last time. This gave rise to an abundance of recollections.'
He returned to Bombay, laid before his Council a valuable minute upon the administration of the Dekhan, and on its general state and progress; and from that time forward he literally counted the days intervening before the date of his departure from India. He laid down office among testi'monies of respect and regard that have rarely been bestowed upon any public functionary;' all classes, native and European, presented addresses of encomium on his administration and regret at its close; and the Elphinstone College was founded as a lasting memorial of his exertions in the cause of education.
He wandered home through Egypt, Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy, reaching England in May 1829, after an absence of thirty-three years, and a voyage by sea and land of some eighteen months. He was at Constantinople in 1828, when the Russians were crossing the Balkans, and when the Sultan proclaimed a Jehád, calling on all Moslems to rally round the sacred standard. He was in the Morea when the French forced the Turks to evacuate it; he met Mr. Stratford Canning with the French camp at Messina; he visited the then famous Greek leader Colocotroni; at Venice he talked with Count Haugwitz, the Prussian ambassador who congratulated Napoleon after Austerlitz; and at Paris he saw Talleyrand, 'an odd figure, pale, with the skin of his face hanging loose, and with a great deal of hair, 'gummed and powdered.' His notes and observations
throughout the journey, as given by Sir E. Colebrooke, are excellent reading. No retiring Anglo-Indian ever made better use of the opportunity and choice of routes afforded to those who have to find their way home from Asia to England; nor would Elphinstone have envied the smooth and facile speed with which modern governors are now conveyed from Bombay to Dover in three weeks. There is no doubt that the transition from arduous and important functions, and from a position of some eminence, to vacuous leisure and the flat comforts of ordinary European life, is not the less felt by successful and superannuated officials because in these days it is rapid and sudden. So probably Elphinstone was right to profit by his Homeric studies, and to follow the example of Ulysses, who, like himself, after many exciting years of Asiatic warfare and politics, travelled home in a very leisurely manner to his quiet island in the West.
Not the least interesting part of his journal at this period is the record of his first impressions on landing in England, and while he posted up from Dover to London. He had been so long absent that his observations read like those of a very intelligent foreigner, but warmed and lighted up by old recollections, patriotic emotions, and the unspeakable pleasure of finding himself at last again in his fatherland.
'Long after I landed I was so sick and giddy that I scarce knew what I was about. I afterwards walked about the town, and admired the extraordinary neatness of the houses and streets. The shops made full as good a show as French ones. I was struck with the number of religious books. The people in the town were perhaps better dressed, but certainly not better-looking, than the French. What surprised me was that they had all a slovenly lounging air, very unlike the energy and business habits one is accustomed to ascribe to them. All with whom I had anything to do were quite as civil as the French, or as was possible. I saw with delight many old objects that I have not seen since I left home. They were of the humblest description-gingerbread figures, tin milk-pails, &c. Some servant-maid was astonished on landing at Calais to hear the children speaking French. I was almost as much startled to hear all the common people speaking English. The numerous carriages distinguished Dover from a French town. The hotel was much what one of equal celebrity would be in France, but more comfortable.
'What astonished me most was the comfort of the people; every cottage was neat and finished, with geraniums in the windows, and often a little garden in front. Some few were of wooden frames, with lath or clay and mortar, and one or two looked just like those in France, but in general they were more like cottages at the Petit Trianon than the meanness of real life; indeed, the whole country VOL. CLX. NO. CCCXXVII.
looks as if it were put in order for some grand holiday, and everything unpleasant put out of sight. The only disappointment is where one would least wish it, in the appearance of the people. We are certainly not better-looking than the French, and I doubt if the lower orders are even so well dressed. They have none of the ruddy appearance I expected, and those who are even approaching to the middle age look haggard and worn.'
He felt rather isolated at first, but soon found his place in London society; his meeting again with the Duke of Wellington deserves an extract.
'June 25.-I dined with the Court of Directors, a dinner to Lord Dalhousie and Sir S. Beckwith. All the Cabinet Ministers were there; some were pointed out to me, and I met several old acquaintances. A shout in the streets announced the Duke of Wellington, and presently he entered. He looked older, but much the same as in old times. The greatest change was in his softened and more courtly manner. I cannot describe the sensations produced in me by the sight of him. After some time I was told he was asking for me, and I went up to him. He received me as he would have done formerly, and talked for a minute or two; said among other things that he had grown old and grey since I saw him, and that he could not scamper about on horseback as he used to do then. I feel none of the shyness with him that I do with ordinary great men. After dinner he made a speech, not flowing and easy, like a practised speaker, but loud, distinct, and full of matter. He alluded to his serving the Company, and the interest he took in the Indian army. Many others spoke, several of them (Dalhousie, Beckwith, and Hill) plain soldiers, and no orators; but all with a self-possession that surprised and humiliated me by the comparison.'
He was offered the Persian embassy, but declined; and after a long visit to Scotland, when he noted the striking 'difference between England and Scotland, he settled down finally in London in 1831. His journal gives various interesting and amusing glimpses of notable personages and events, particularly during the excitement of the Reform Bill and the Irish Disturbance Bill. Of the first Reformed Parliament Mr. Charles Wynne tells him, as they walk home from the House, 'that it was so deficient in courtesy 'that he could hardly fancy it the same assembly;' a remark that suggests much speculation as to what Mr. Wynne would have thought of the manners of the House of Commons fifty years later. His account of one of the earliest debates after the Reform Act is worth preserving for the picture it has left us of a bygone generation, and for his opinion on the different orators :
'March 4.-I went for four nights to hear the debates on the first
reading of the Irish Disturbance Bill. Great apprehensions were entertained about its reception; and when Lord Althorpe opened it in a dull, heavy, hesitating speech, its reception was not very cheering. Several other members spoke for and against with no decisive effect; but Mr. Stanley rose, and in a clear, decided, confident, and earnest speech roused the feelings and strengthened the courage of the House, and was received with long and enthusiastic cheers, which showed that the feelings of all were on the Government side, however they might have been suppressed by prudence or want of zeal. His facts and arguments differed little from Lord Althorpe's, but the effect was as different as ice and fire. I had no idea of the power of eloquence, or rather of confidence and earnestness of manner. The last part of his speech was a severe attack on O'Connell, managed with great skill, with no appearance of study, and heightened by readiness in turning occurrences of the moment to account, making O'Connell's cheers the occasion of some of the most murderous thrusts at him. Among other things O'Connell was reproached with having called the House 600 scoundrels, which he called out he would explain. The House would scarcely wait till Stanley was done, but called for an immediate explanation. When Stanley had done, and all was expectation, Sheil moved the adjournment of the House, but the cry for O'Connell was too persevering. He rose at last, and first tried conciliation, to little purpose; then manly frankness with more success, until his lame and shuffling explanation came, which was received with a burst of laughter. O'Connell was completely disconcerted, made bad worse by further attempts at explanation, and sat down amid the strongest marks of reprobation from almost every side. The other speakers of note were Tennyson-clear, fluent enough, but with too much and too undignified action, in both which defects he is far surpassed by Lytton Bulwer, who has even more fluency, but with a lisp and a weak voice.'
At the end of 1834 the Whig Ministry was dismissed, and Lord Ellenborough at once offered to Elphinstone, first, the permanent Under-Secretaryship of the Board of Control, and, secondly, the Governor-Generalship of India; but both appointments were resolutely declined. In regard to India, he considered his health to be an insuperable impediment;' but it is also curious to find how little importance he attached at the time to the Governor-Generalship, which was twice proposed to him. In September 1834, when the Chairman of the Court of Directors wishes to submit his name for the office, he writes: The probable employment ' of the next Governor-General will be, like that of the last, economy and details of civil administration, with the ' amendment of the Code, and settlement of questions ' arising from the late Act.' And again (1835):
'As Governor-General of India, I should only have had to cut and clip; my health certainly would not have stood it for six months; but
if there had been the least prospect of usefulness or distinction, I should not have thought of my health for a single moment. I am much cooled since old times, but I would still give all the rest of my life with delight for one moment of real glory.'
Mr. Elphinstone had certainly no gift of second sight when he predicted thus of a period which, under Lord Auckland, witnessed the most memorable and tragic series of events, political and military, that our Indian history records.
It is probable,' Sir Edward Colebrooke observes, that if he had attempted the great charge of India his health would have soon broken down, as it did only a few years later. One might otherwise have been tempted to speculate on the change in the course of history which might have resulted from his presence in India when the Russian alarm was at its height. Mr. Elphinstone once told me that he saw the destinies of Europe very nearly changed by a fishbone; General Wellesley was nearly choked by a fish-bone at his own table. Lord Ellenborough, at the public meeting held in Mr. Elphinstone's honour after his decease, boldly declared that had he gone to India there would have been no Afghan war. It is certain that he would not have counselled that unfortunate enterprise; and it is improbable that the Ministry of the day would have sent to a statesman of his knowledge and experience such peremptory instructions as those which were said to have crossed in midsea the announcement of the decision of Lord Auckland's government.'
Leaving to other hands India's future, Elphinstone preferred to write its past history; he settled down resolutely to his work for a time, and the volumes that he completed have taken a permanent place in all Indian libraries. But just as he had entered upon his account of the growth of the English power in Bengal under Clive and Hastings, Macaulay's essays appeared. He seems to have been dazzled and disheartened, unfortunately, by their brilliancy; he decided that Macaulay had treated the period dramatically, and Mill philosophically, in a manner that left him no excuse for going over the same ground, and that he was content to fail as an historian with Fox and Mackintosh. So he abandoned his work in a fit of despondency, mainly attributable to his failing health; and we have thus lost a history which, so far from being superfluous, would have supplied manifest deficiencies, and would have succeeded just in those qualities, and in those parts of the subject, where the shortcomings and misapprehensions of Mill and Macaulay are now clearly visible. Mill's history is not readable enough; Macaulay's essays are so entertaining as to be almost too readable; the influence they have acquired is far